|This biographical article relies on references to primary sources. (September 2011)|
March 26, 1955 |
Long Beach, California, United States
|Years active||1990 - present|
Hopkins began her writing career in 1990. She started with nonfiction books for children, including Air Devils and Orcas: High Seas Supermen.
Hopkins has since written several verse novels exposing teenage struggles such as drug addiction, mental illness,and prostitution, including Crank, Burned, Impulse, Identical, Glass, Tricks, Tilt, and Fallout. Glass is the sequel to Crank, and Fallout, the third and final book in the series, was released on September 14, 2010. Perfect was released on September 13, 2011, and is a companion novel to Impulse. Ellen Hopkins's most recent book, Tilt, was released September 11, 2012, and is a companion from the point of view of the teens mentioned in Triangles. Hopkins explained she feels they needed their own story after the release of Triangles. Hopkins also plans on releasing a sequel to Burned, Smoke, in 2013.
Her second adult novel Collateral came out in the fall of 2012. Collateral is about military deployment and how the families that are left behind are affected. Hopkins wants us to remember that as our men and women return from the Middle East, they come home profoundly changed. Coping with that transformation can be challenging for the soldiers and for their loved ones. This book may help readers open their minds and hearts to the new lifestyles they will be living.
In 2013, she released the sequel to her bestselling book Burned, Smoke, and later announced her upcoming book Rumble (August 2014), about a boy questioning his faith after his brother commits suicide, Tangled (Spring 2015), about a woman who falls in love with a sociopath, and Traffick (Fall 2015), a sequel to her bestseller Tricks.
(YA) = Young Adult (A) = Adult
- Burned (2006) (YA)
- Smoke (September 10, 2013) (YA)
- Ashes (June 15) (YA)
- Tricks (2009) (YA)
- Identical (2008)
- Collateral (2012) (A)
- Rumble (2014) (YA)
- Tangled (Spring 2015) (A)
Hopkins was adopted by Albert and Valeria Wagner when they were 72 and 42, respectively. Her first poem was published in the Palm Springs Desert Sun when she was nine. She attended high school in Santa Ynez Valley and went on to study journalism at the University of California, Santa Barbara before dropping out to start a family and a business. She had two children; Jason and Cristal. When her marriage failed, she sold her business and began freelance work. Following her divorce, she had a daughter, Kelly, with a man she considered to be a 'rebound'. He was abusive and kidnapped Kelly, keeping her in secrecy for three years. She was found later by his grandmother. Around 1985, she married John Hopkins, her current husband. They also adopted their daughter Cristal's son, Orion. In 1990, Ellen Hopkins and her family moved to northern Nevada. During this time she decided to write for a living. She started out freelancing newspaper and magazine articles, then moved from there into children’s nonfiction.
Later in life, she found her biological mother, Toni Chandler, who was also a writer and poet. Hopkins believes most of her writing talent originates from her own talent and also from her adoptive mother. She also considers her fifth grade teacher the first person to encourage her to become a professional writer.
Ellen Hopkins has been writing poetry for as long as she can remember. Although she didn't know her birth mother in her earlier years, Hopkins found out that her birth mother also writes poetry, and has done for her entire life.
This is an excerpt of Hopkins' poem, Dry Spell:
You are like rain, forecasted
to quench a summer‚ thirsting,
thirst grown beyond easy need, to life or death.
I watch the clouds,
approaching windward mountains, slate
bruising black beneath expectation.
The western window
darkens as, laden, the curtain falls,
descends to veil peaks and rifts, draws nearer.
Is it thunder that I hear?
Or is the sudden rumble but the flurry
of hurried birds, on wing against unceasing drought? 
- Official Website
- Ellen Hopkins' Facebook
- Ellen Hopkins: Ellen Hopkins' Livejournal
- Myspace Page
- Ellen Hopkins' Twitter Stream
- Publisher's Weekly interview
- Interview at Powells.com